After two decades, the city’s annual Fourth of July celebration will return to Fred G. Hughes Stadium at Missouri Southern.

The university’s Board of Governors approved the plan for a collaborative celebration with the city during a meeting Wednesday, Jan. 24.

Jared Bruggeman, director of athletics at Missouri Southern, said that the move comes following conversations with Paul Bloomberg, director of Joplin Parks & Recreation.

“Paul and I have served on committees together, including the Joplin Sports Authority,” said Bruggeman. “A few years ago, he mentioned in passing about the challenges of hosting the event each year at the Athletic Complex near Schifferdecker Park, and asked if Southern would be interested in having it here again.

“We’ve got a great venue here for this type of thing, especially with the fireworks shows we’ve had after events. We’ll help with games on the field, and handle parking and traffic flow in conjunction with the Joplin Police Department. This will be a great collaborative effort between Missouri Southern and the city, and will show what we can do when we join forces.”

Bloomberg said the Fourth of July event had been moved to Landreth Park from Missouri Southern when he came to Joplin in 1999.

“Three years ago it was moved out to the Athletics Complex,” he said. “Moving it back to Missouri Southern will be a win-win for everyone. It will be so much easier for people to get in and out, and the stadium will be a great place for people to watch the fireworks show.”

Bloomberg said that games and live music will be offered that day as part of the event.